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Apple Records Box Set

Apple Records Box Set (Apple / EMI)

Reviewed by Ed Ward, Fri., Dec. 17, 2010

Box Sets

Apple Records Box Set

(Apple/EMI)

First, this collection of the non-Beatles Apple albums is for completists; all the individual albums here, except for a double-CD of rarities, which is available as a download, are available individually. That means if you don't want the Radha Krsna Temple album (and I don't think you do) or the two Mary Hopkin LPs (there's no accounting for taste) or the John Tavener classical album (a historical artifact at best), you can just get what you want. What you want is the four Badfinger discs, dismissed as Beatles copies back when they first came out in 1970 and 1971, but joyously poppy and upbeat today. That two of the four members of the classic lineup killed themselves makes some of the lyrics seem rather dark for such sweet music, but there's no question Badfinger was underrated. Otherwise, the Come and Get It singles CD is odd fun: Check out the Hot Chocolate Band's reading of "Give Peace a Chance" or the Sundown Playboys' hardcore-Cajun "Saturday Nite Special." I'm still not sure about Jackie Lomax: Was he the Joe Cocker that didn't happen? His album has its moments. James Taylor's 1968 debut stands up: The pseudo-classical connective material between songs sounds archaic now, but the bonus-track inclusion of some demos is neat. George Harrison signed not only the Krsnas but also Billy Preston and Doris Troy, and their efforts demonstrate uneasy tension between black American gospel and the attempts of some of the Brits to play backup – the Dixie Flyers they weren't. The biggest problem here: Personnel isn't listed anywhere. There are Beatles, Stones, and others of note on nearly all of these albums. Biggest surprise? The Modern Jazz Quartet album (collected on one CD), playfully experimental in a way the band had never been before.

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